There was an English guy in front of me in the chemist’s the other day, struggling to make himself understood.

“What’s this say?” he asked the chemist, pointing at his prescription. The chemist looked blank.
“Quiere saber que dice,” I told him.
“Dice ‘uno por día’”, said the chemist.
“It says ‘one a day’” I told the customer.
“Thank you. Not many people round here seem to speak English…”
“Well, you are in Spain.”
“I know, but it’s difficult, especially when you’re older.”

I’m ‘older’ too (older than what, anyway?) but it’s not a legitimate excuse, it’s a cop-out. “Can’t you bloody well try?” I’m tempted to retort, “after all, what else have you got to do all day?”

Some people do learn Spanish when they retire and move to Spain, but a good many don’t. If they live on the coast they don’t need to, they’re surrounded by other Brits, so why bother. When friends moved house, they discovered that their next door neighbour was English. They asked her:

“Do many foreigners live round here?”
“Oh no,” she said, “we’re nearly all English here.”

In my head, in the kind of rants I don’t actually inflict on anyone, I say “Don’t you think you should try and learn the language of the country you’re living in? Is it really so hard to learn enough to string a sentence together? Make some bloody effort! Are you too stupid, or are you just too damn lazy! Get off your backside and go to a class! Don’t be so pathetic!”

You think I exaggerate? I overheard a woman who’d been living here for years complaining to a friend she hadn’t been able to find the local bar she’d been told about. “We looked all over for Bar Casa Pepe, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. We went all round the village, and the only bar we saw was Bar Abierto”. I rest my case

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2 Responses to Brits

  1. Jessica says:

    Oh my gosh, “Bar Abierto”! No way! That’s funny and frustrating at the same time. I can’t understand why you’d live in a foreign country and not learn the language.

  2. Rea says:

    So funny, so true. My kids are bilingual, but they have a Canadian accent in English. An English friend recently asked me when they would pick up the local accent. But they speak Spanish, I replied. No, when would they pick up a British accent? Does my head in.

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